Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar has gone from seeking the Illinois governor’s seat to launching a statewide nonprofit news outlet.
The Indian American former candidate, an alderman since 2011 who dropped out of the gubernatorial race due to lack of campaign funds, announced in a Kickstarter campaign he plans to launch the outlet ‘One Illinois’ come April. The campaign is seeking $10,000 to launch the project and, at time of press, it had generated nearly $4,100 from 59 backers.
The campaign, which can be found here: http://kck.st/2FF1A51, will end March 25.
A Democrat, Pawar will serve as president and executive director of One Illinois. The site, according to the Kickstarter, will seek to “reclaim the voice of and unite the neighborhoods of Illinois.”
One Illinois will spotlight the common struggles of working people across the state and showcase their resilience in a way that helps bridge the divides across race, class, and geography by pushing back against the divide-and-rule strategy, it said on the campaign.
In explaining what One Illinois is all about, the campaign begins by describing what the Illinois Policy Institute has done to shape the minds of the community within the state.
It said that IPI “has spent the last decade creating a false narrative around progressive policies, labor groups, and public institutions. The IPI produces news content with far-right-wing policies embedded within the stories. By shaping the narrative around far-right policies, the IPI shapes public discourse and elections.”
In response to the IPI, One Illinois intends to be a market disruptor, it said.
“We are at our best when we realize we rise and fall together and when we are able to see our neighbors as people. We are at our best when we stop judging people based on who they voted for in the last election and instead focus on our common humanity,” Pawar said on the campaign site. “We want to build a lasting coalition of neighbors around the issues that that unite us. We believe journalism and storytelling is the best way to shape a new narrative about Illinoisans reconnecting with one another."
The potential news outlet claims it will provide content of Illinois residents “who embody the determination, resilience and joy within their communities.”
Longtime Chicago journalist Ted Cox, a veteran of the Daily Herald, DNAinfo Chicago and the Chicago Reader, will serve as editor of One Illinois. At the outset he’ll oversee a staff of freelance writers, video producers and podcasters, it said.
One Illinois will feature long-form and short stories on the people of Illinois. No vitriol or anger, the stories will focus on people’s common humanity and the hopes, dreams, and concerns Illinoisans share, it said.
The long-term goal, it said, is to build a broad-based audience across party lines, across race and class, and across Illinois to help shape a more positive and unified narrative.
(See earlier India-West story here.)